Opening with a set of cymbal crashes amid a tight-knit kit rumble that segues into the rhythmic pulse, drummer Allison Miller begins her second album with "Cheyenne," one of four original compositions written for this group. Joining Miller in her trio are Myra Melford (piano) and Todd Sickafoose (bass). Violinist Jenny Scheinman does a sprightly guest spot for Miller's "CFS (Candy Flavored Sidewalks)."
The leader's music is infectious. Its multiple chorus structure brings with it an orientation that is unselfish. The character of her drumming is positive and sensitive to timbre. Furthermore, she makes every attempt to bring out the percussiveness of her instrument with clicks, cymbal hisses and scrapes, allusions to reverb and brush and cymbal work so fluid that it resembles water misting or swooshing across a fine sandpaper surface. Omnipresent is the sonic fullness ushered in by her unusual accentuations and figures.
Melford and Miller are perfectly matched. The two both can render boppish tempos, as heard especially in Mary Lou Williams' "Intermission." Melford's piano technique is open and well defined and her compositions "Big Melting Snow" and "Night" tend to upend conventional rhythm and melody; their musical lines communicate abstraction, dissonance and an unmistakable lyricism.
Sickafoose offers an unshakable ground with his ample pizzicatos, enriching Miller's off-center composition "Fead." He squarely places the rhythm down for "Intermission" and "Big Lovely" while the suppleness of his phrasing during Hoagy Carmichael's ballad "Rocking Chair" is as captivating as the piano's mainline delivery. His cultivation of the non-thematic is as full of bravura as Melford's angular approach to the keyboard. But nothing could be more compelling than the trio's successfully direct and skillful approach to a variety of musical styles.
Track Listing: Cheyenne; Fead; Intermission Rockin' Chair; Be Melting Snow; CFS (Candy
Flavored Sidewalks); Big Lovely; Night.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.